Bandira’s life was hard. She didn’t have any money and there was not enough food in her home to feed her seven children. Sometimes they went without food for two days in a row. Her children were malnourished.
It is estimated that over three million Kenyans have been affected by the severe multi-year drought persisting in the Horn of Africa. In the sub-county of Mandera, where Bandira lives in the village of Takaba, acute malnutrition rates for children have topped 30%. Rates over 15% are considered critical.
In partnership with the Canadian Foodgrains Bank, early in the drought, ADRA began distributing emergency food supplies of rice, beans, vegetable oil, and salt. The mixture of these foods is designed to meet a person’s nutritional needs. These rations are monotonous, but they save lives.
“As a parent, I had lost hope. I couldn’t feed my children and the entire community generally felt neglected and abandoned. Poverty was extreme and the entire village looked dry…ADRA…fed our families and we were extremely happy.”
Emergency food distributions are only a temporary solution. ADRA began to teach the community ways to prepare for and cope with the effects of droughts.
Takaba is in an arid area and it was hard for Bandira to believe that things could change.
“Our area has been perceived as dry and we have always believed that nothing good can come from this area. Soils are poor with no vegetation. [ADRA] introduced vegetable farming which was something we had never heard or thought of before…gave us seeds to plant which we are benefiting from even up to today.
Little did I have knowledge on these water-saving vegetable gardening skills. My family couldn’t appreciate the need of vegetables in a balanced diet.
The project did a lot to me, my family, and the entire community. Today we are growing tomatoes, sukuma wiki (collard greens), spinach, and other vegetables from our farm…Despite the long droughts, we can still get vegetables…Life is still a bit hard, but it is much better than it was.
On average, I earn about Kshs 600 ($7.70 CAD) every week from the sale of vegetables from my small garden. This helps me to supplement my family needs. Today my children are all healthy and in school thanks to ADRA and our donors.
ADRA…gave us hope and renewed our lives. The life had lost meaning, but today I smile [because of the] farm and get something for my children and to the market. ADRA taught us that we have many opportunities and opened our eyes. Indeed, this is a transformation.”
In 2017 the partnership between ADRA and the Canadian Foodgrains Bank provided $2.5 million of food assistance in eight countries, benefitting over 97,000 people.
Thank you for your prayers and your generous support. Your compassion is helping families like Bandira’s to overcome adversity and find new hope.